The things that were here before you died
and the things that have come after:
To the former belong, first of all,
your clothes, the jewelry and the photographs
and the name of the woman you were named after
and who also died young...
But also a couple receipts, the arrangement
of a certain corner in the living room,
a shirt you ironed for me
and which I keep carefully
under my pile of shirts,
certain pieces of music, and the mangy
dog that still stands around
smiling stupidly, as though you were here.
To the latter belong my new fountain pen,
a well-known perfume
on the skin of a woman I hardly even know
and the new light bulbs I put in the bedroom lamp
by whose light I read about you
in every book I try to read.
The former remind me that you were,
the latter that you no longer are.
It is the near indistinguishableness
I find hardest to bear.